Here at Lancaster University we are very excited to be part of a group of pilot institutions taking part in Jisc’s Research data shared services project. This aims to provide a flexible range of services which suit the varied needs of institutions in the HE sector help achieve policy compliance for deposit, publication, discovery, storage and long term preservation of research data. It’s an ambitious project but one that there is an undoubted need for and we are trying to work with Jisc to help them achieve this goal.
Last week we were invited down to Jisc London HQ to learn about the progress of the project and – just as importantly – share our own thoughts and experiences on the process.
Well… it’s probably quite hard to get to the truth of the matter but here at Lancaster we are trying to find out what researchers really think. This is crucial for developing and improving our services and vital for delivering the service our researchers want.
We are one of the organisations taking part in the JISC RDM Shared Services pilot and you can read their take on the work being done here. With JISC’s help we undertook a researcher survey to find out a bit more about the kinds of research data which were being produced, how the data were (or weren’t) being managed and researcher attitudes towards their data.
I attended the first Research Data Alliance workshop held in sunny Birmingham which was designed to bring together practitioners from across the UK to find out more about the work of the RDA. It was also a chance to see how we might be able to contribute and benefit from what the organisation has to offer. Despite already being a member of the RDA Interest Groups for Archives and Records Professionals, I confess to having been more of a casual observer than an active participant. So it was a brilliant opportunity to find out more about exactly what the Research Data Alliance is, how it works and what it hopes to achieve.
I was extremely lucky to attend iPres 2016 the International Digital Preservation conference this year held in the beautiful Swiss capital city Bern.
The conference attracts some of the leading practitioners in the field so it’s a real privilege to be able to hear from and speak to people who are leading in research and development – creating tools, developing workflows and undertaking research into all aspects of digital management and preservation.
I was delighted recently to welcome colleagues from across the UK to Lancaster University for an Archivematica UK User group meeting. It was the hottest day of September here in Lancaster and while the campus did look lovely I did recommend our wonderful campus ice cream shop* to help cool down.
Archivematica UK User Group is an informal group made up of people considering, testing or using Archivematica, a digital preservation system. Those who attended are at all different stages of development and have a wide range of collections that they manage. What unites us all is a desire to tackle digital preservation as best they can with the resources they have available and to share experiences with others in the digital preservation community.
What Archivematica is: an open-source digital preservation system.
What Archivematica is not: a magic bullet that will solve all your digital preservation needs.
We have been doing some thinking around how to improve the research data management services we offer here at Lancaster. We’re keen to move away from the idea of the role of research data management as purely for compliance purposes – we want to really push the idea of open data and data reuse and develop the idea that the research data produced by the university are valuable assets. We know that researchers at the university are working on interesting, valuable and important work. Look at Derek Gatherer’s work on the Zika virus or Maggie Mort’s project looking at disaster planning and children and a host of other more specialized datasets supporting research right across the sciences and the humanities. Each dataset will have its own context, background and requirements for it to be properly interpreted and understood.